Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,050 / Araucaria

Posted by mhl on June 30th, 2010


Sorry for the late (and very rushed) post – I knew I was blogging today but didn’t make much progress on the way into work and then promptly forgot about it. I wish I’d had more time to enjoy this one – lots of nice clues, but pretty tough, I thought.

10. ADORN ADO = “trouble” + RN = “sailors”
11. KARAKUL KK = “Kings” around A RA ARA (Associate of the Royal Academy) – thanks, Peter Owen = “painter” + U = “turn” + L = “left”
12. MACBETH MATH = “an American subject” around BET = “award” (?) Oops, as Peter Owen and mike point out below, this is MATH around CBE = “award”; I understood this at the time, but looked at the wrong letters when writing the post…
13. DUST Double definition; references to “dust to dust” and to “a dust up”
16. HEAR OUT HE = “Man” + ROUT = “a heavy defeat”
17. FRESHET FRET = “Worry” around SHE = “woman”
19,7. BARCHESTER TOWERS CHEST = “Box” in BARER = “wearing fewer clothes” + TOWERS = “drawers” (“to tow” and “to draw”)
22. UNDO Hidden reversed; I thought this must be a hidden reversed answer, but it still took ages to see… Update: thanks to Peter Owen for the correction
24. CHATHAM CHAT = “Talk” + HAM = “food”
25. LIBERAL LIBEL = “remarks that are defamatory” around RA = “artist”
26. EMOTE E = “quarter” + MOTE = “bit of [DUST]”
27. EAVESDROP Double definition; “water falling from roof” my be a DROP from the EAVES
1. KICKED THE BUCKET Double definition
2. CLARISSA CLASS = “Pupils” around RI = “religious instruction” + A
3. SNAKE Double definition; snakes glide along the ground, I suppose? (Some even glide through the air.) “scotched, not killed, by [MACBETH]” refers to the line “We have scotch’d the snake, not killed it” from that play
4. PSALMIST ALMOST = “Not quite” with I for O = “love” after PS = “second thoughts”
5. WARMTH Double definition
6. CAMCORDER Very nice: CA = “accountant” + MC = “compère” + ORDER = “to get things straight”
8. ANTHONY TROLLOPE HON = “[HONORARY]” + Y = “unknown” + TROLLOP = “slut” in ANTE = “before”
17. FREE LOVE LOVE = “Nothing” + FREE = “for nothing”
18. HONORARY HOARY = “being old” around NOR = “not”
20. REASON RE = “Concerned with” + AS = “Roman coin” + ON
21,14. SAMUEL RICHARDSON SAMSON = “Strong man” around (CRUEL I)* + HARD = “tough”
23. ABASH A + BASH = “party”

36 Responses to “Guardian 25,050 / Araucaria”

  1. Peter Owen says:

    11 across: I parsed this slightly differently as ARA (= Associate of the Royal Academy = painter) in KK + UL

    12 across: This is CBE (= award) in MATH.

    22 across: UNDO is hidden but not reversed.

  2. mike says:

    Son Dan and I found this very tough. Macbeth is Math around CBE (award). Glad of the explanation of Psalmist which we solved without working out why. Freshet is one of the new words we have learnt today. Mike

  3. cholecyst says:

    Thanks,mhl. I thought this was very easy for an Araucaria puzzle but very enjoyable all the same. Who was it who said here recently that it must take very many times longer to set an easy puzzle than to solve one? It must be child’s play to set a puzzle so difficult that few can solve it.

  4. FumbleFingers says:

    I never heard of KARAKUL, SAMUEL RICHARDSON, LOCH SHIEL, or CLARISSA, and didn’t know the relevant associations of CHATHAM and SNAKE. But I got them all thanks to generally fair clueing – and assumptions re what is or isn’t plausible, when it came to (HIS CELLO H)*

    Only slight niggle was the repeated use of RA for painter / artist. Especially because in KARAKUL it was “a RA”. I don’t think it’s fair that we have to add an (unspecified) leading indefinite article simply because there wouldn’t be enough letters otherwise. That “A” should have been explicitly referenced in the clue.

  5. FumbleFingers says:

    Peter Owen @1 – if your parsing of 11a is correct, that just begs the question re 25a – how can it be fair in a single puzzle to derive two different letter sequences from “the same” keyword?

  6. crikey says:

    Fumble at 4, I think that ‘ARA’ stands for Associate of Royal Academy (or something like that), so perhaps it’s not as unfair as it first seems. I share your reservations about the inconsistency though.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    I found this relatively straightforward, too, all but two done on the way in (11a and 3d) but finished soon afterwards.

    Thanks, mhl, needed your explanation for 4d and the sheep’s innards at 11a; I must admit to a minor cheat on this – I new this was going to be a word I didn’t know, and I was certain it was K-RAKUL or K-RASUL or K-RARUL, so I googled “fur from sheep” wiht little expectancy of clarification, but soon found the answer.

    Despite knowing CLARISSA, SAMUEL RICHARDSON I had not heard of, but I found it straightforward to work him out from the clue.

  8. Stella Heath says:

    Two new words – “freshet” and “karakul” (which I learn from Chambers can also be spelt with “c’s”, so be warned :-) – and I googled Samuel Richardson for Clarissa, but I found this puzzle fair and entertaining.

    Thanks for your explanations, mhl. For some reason I couldn’t see the explanation for Barchester Towers, though I am familiar with the novel

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Araucaria

    A very enjoyable puzzle with some good clues – 6d, 18d and 27a were all ‘aha’s for me.

    I did not know ‘karakul’ or ‘freshet’ but guessed from the clue and then checked. I also had to check the ‘snake’ quote, but again easily guessable.

    Re RA etc – I suspect Peter Owen (thanks) is right re 11a, otherwise the clue could and should have said ‘a painter’.
    Fumblefingers – a quibble on this – for what it’s worth, the ‘keywords’ are not the same – it is ‘painter’ in 11a and ‘artist’ in 25a. :)

    The novels and their authors came readily, though I don’t remember reading either book – I’m not sure what this says about my education, probably ‘thoroughly superficial!’

  10. Colin Greenland says:

    I did get it all, but it needed a lot of fudging and pressing the Check button. I too hadn’t heard of 11a or 15d: I had to work out what they must be, letter by letter, then look up my results to see if they existed.

    Thanks for explaining 3d and 4d, which I managed but couldn’t parse. I didn’t understand 18d either, for some reason. It looks obvious now you’ve done the work for me! I think I was just weary from the struggle.

  11. Martin says:

    I enjoyed this!

    One query: in 12ac, why is “MATH” an American subject?

  12. NeilW says:

    Honestly, I didn’t care for this too much. I am a great admirer of Araucaria but much more so when he avoids literary references that you either know or you don’t – and obscure words. A plea to all setters at this level of puzzle: a maximum of one obscure word or literary/scientific reference, for general erudition, per crossword! More of the latter just feels like laziness on the part of the setter. My enthusiasm has tended to move from A to Paul of late for these exact reasons.

    Please feel free to disagree..

  13. Mike says:

    Math is American because the English is Maths.

  14. NeilW says:

    Martin: are you American? “English English” is “Maths”.

  15. FumbleFingers says:

    Or perhaps that should be “English English” ARE maths…

  16. FumbleFingers says:

    I’m now thoroughly confused re ARA in 11a and RA in 25a. I said “the same” keyword @5 because in the context of the Royal Academy I supposed painter and artist were pretty much the same animal.

    Is it being suggested that artists are the real Royal Academicians, and that painters are merely their “Associates”?

  17. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hard gadgety work but got there in the end. Some of it was fun.

    At the risk of leaving us both gobsmacked, NeilW, I agree.

  18. tupu says:

    Hi FumbleFingers

    :)I put a smiley and said it was a quibble. Nothing serious re the difference was implied. The only clue to Peter Owen’s reading is the absence of an ‘a’ in the 11a clue as far as I can see.

  19. FumbleFingers says:

    I don’t know how to do smileys here, but please assume them in most of my posts!

    I suspect (perish the thought!) that Araucaria may not even have noticed that he’d used both ‘painter’ and ‘artist’ to lead us to RA – with an implied leading A in one case, but not the other.

    Firstly I think it’s bad form to repeat a reference like that in a single puzzle. Secondly I think it’s even worse when one occurence leads to RA and the other to ARA. Thirdly, (assume several smileys here!) I don’t buy the “Associate” explanation as justification.

  20. Petero says:

    FumbleFingers @5: I think you have dropped the ball on this one. How is it not ‘fair’, when RA and ARA are both titles which may be (or, in the case of ARA, may have been) applied to an artist or painter. Are you troubled by the use of the word ‘novelist’ in 21/14 and 9 to indicate two different people? Re Samuel Richardson and Clarissa, like Dave Ellison @7, I had heard of the novel – reputedly one of the longest in English – but could not have named the author without the exemplary wordplay.

  21. Martin says:

    Doh! I see now. So by the same token, Sylvia Plath was also an American subject!

  22. Gaufrid says:

    The method of generating of emoticons is given here:

    ARA as an abreviation for Associate of the Royal Academy is given in both Chambers and Collins so there in no “implied leading A”.

  23. Ian says:

    Thanks mhl and to Araucaria for todays puzzle.

    Much to admire again from the doyen of setters. Just enough stright clues (‘Kich The Bucket’ & ‘ Inland Sea’) to get me off and running. I was slow to progress through the rest though and needed help from Wiki to finish the Richardson reference.

    I too was flummoxed by the answers 9gettable from the clue) of both ‘Karakul’ and ‘Freshet’.

    Favourites included 4dn and 6dn.


  24. rrc says:

    Enjoyed this, but enjoyed yesterday’s even more. Do I assume Paul is taking over the title of master

  25. Trebor says:

    I have an odd request, unrelated to today’s puzzle but I hope someone will help. Out of boredom I randomly had a go at a past puzzle on The Guardian website and came across a few things I couldn’t follow. In particular I couldn’t explain the answer to 6down and the use of the “3” in various other clues (I assumed as usual< this referred to the answer to clue 3, but still got nowhere).

  26. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for a great blog, mhl! – a very enjoyable puzzle.

    Re 11ac: I’d never heard of KARAKUL but worked it out, assuming, I’m afraid, a Guardian omission of ‘a’and thought it a bit weak that Araucaria had used [almost] the same device twice. Once I’d been alerted to the ‘Associate’ possibility, I wondered, with tupu and FumbleFigers, whether there was a distinction between ‘artists’ and ‘painters’ in the Royal Academy and found this in Wikipedia:

    “Of the 80 Academicians, there must always be at least 14 sculptors, 12 architects and 8 printmakers with the balance being drawn from the painters category.

    The category of Associate Member of the Royal Academy (A.R.A.) was introduced in 1769 to provide a means of pre-selecting suitable candidates to fill future vacancies among Academicians. Associate membership was abolished in 1991.”

    So it seems there no longer are any Associate Members …

    [I whimsically took the definition of 18dn as being ‘getting nothing for being …’]

  27. Carrots says:

    One of the “magical” attributes of an Araucaria puzzle for me is that it is nearly always possible to correctly complete it without knowing some of the words (e.g. KARAKUL or FRESHET) and/or key names and works (e.g. SAMUEL RICHARDSON & CLARISSA). I know of no other setter who can regularly do this……which is why he remains, for me at least, a truly great G.O.M.

  28. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen and FumbleFingers

    It begins to look as if the old wizard has been doing his homework again (cf. the stuff recently on the classification of edentata) at least as far as a distinction between artists and painters (subclass thereof) is concerned.
    But we are still left in ignorance about the relevance of this to the defunct status of ARA.
    It would be nice (but a bit too ‘academic’) if it turned out that they had to be painters!

  29. Pandean says:

    I don’t remember that particular 2004 puzzle by Paul, but looking at it now… the answer to 3down does suggest the way each of the other clues referring to “3” (including 6down) need to be worked out. In each case, a different but related word needs to be omitted from one word defined in the clue before arriving at the solution word (also defined) that is to be inserted in the grid. I hope that makes sense, and is some help. If you want more hints, it’s probably best to go to the Chat Room section to ask, since we’re off-topic here (Sorry Gaufrid).

  30. Scarpia says:

    Thanks mhl.
    I thought this was a super puzzle,with some very clever clueing.Had no trouble with the novellists but like most others had never heard of karakul and had to guess Loch Shiel.As Carrots so rightly says all answers were gettable from the excellent clueing.
    Favourite clues 12 across and 6 down.
    Trebor & 25 – 3 checkout strip stripped (4) checkout strip = barcode. 3down is vegetarian so a vegetarien barcode would be stripped of the cod leaving bare(stripped).

  31. tupu says:

    Has someone already noted that this puzzle should be listed here as 25,050?

  32. tupu says:

    Scarpia (and Pandean)- you are right of course! I noticed forte is missing tuna, and now I see that deer is missing ‘liver’ from deliverer. The rest must be similar. V. clever.

  33. FumbleFingers says:

    NightOwls @everywhere

    I concede! Whatever I may have said before, if a clue enables you to get the answer, it must by definition be OK (that being its raison d’etre). I just got carried away with the possibility of getting one over Araucaria. Which I knew in my heart of hearts was a fool’s errand.

    I’m now older, wiser, and hoping to become more chilled out – thanks to sympathetic & considered responses here 8)

  34. Trebor says:

    Thanks to those who cleared up point 25. Was bugging me.

  35. Mark says:

    How does E = quarter?

  36. mhl says:

    Thanks to everyone for your helpful comments.

    Mark: E (East) is a quarter of the compass.

    tupu: well spotted – I’ve corrected the puzzle number.

    I think this had a very Araucarian set of references – all very fair and cultured, but it did make me think of the broader mix in last week’s Enigmatist (and many other puzzles from Paul, Enigmatist, etc.), which I enjoyed rather more. I suspect this may be a generational preference or, less charitably, that as a solver I feel more flattered by the latter. Oh well.

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